It can be difficult to find the best time to start laser hair removal. Indeed, laser hair removal is quite a lengthy process. As a matter of fact, it will require a few sessions every six weeks or so during twelve to eighteen months. Thus, you will inevitably have to do sessions at an inconvenient time for you. Or at least end your treatment at a time you may be in the sun. As established in another blog post, laser hair removal is better not done in summer.
When is the best time to start laser hair removal then? And what if I start my laser hair removal sessions in winter and have a few in summer? Isn't that unsafe? Remember that no matter what season, if you expose your freshly lasered skin to the sun, you need to wear sunscreen no matter what. Now, proper care and protection make laser hair removal in summer safer. Yet the question remains.
When to start laser hair removal?
When do you personally want to start laser hair removal? We already know what you will answer. You want to get summer ready! Indeed, the whole idea behind getting laser hair removal is to look your best in your swimsuit or bikini. Of course that means no ingrown hair, bumps or cuts of any kind. You usually start to think about your summer holidays when you start planning for them, most likely towards the end of spring.
However, the end of spring and beginning of summer are the worst time to start laser hair removal. Why? Because it is the time when you will be most exposed to the sun (since you are gonna be in your bikinis) and we established earlier that the less sun, the better. It is essential to avoid direct sunlight before AND after your laser hair removal treatment!
Why you must avoid sunlight before laser hair removal
Do you know how laser hair removal work? If not, here is a very quick reminder. During your session, the laser will produce a beam of light target the hair pigment. It is melanin, a.k.a a color pigment, that absorbs the light, thus damaging the hair follicle. Thus, you get how important pigment color is here. The bigger the contrast between hair color and skin tones, the better results you will get.
However, what happens when you are in the sun? Well, you tan, thus reducing that oh-so-important color contrast. It is essential that the skin around the targeted hair follicle is a blank canva. Even though laser hair removal works on darker skin tones, mostly due to new technologies, they are still more likely to see unwanted side-effects such as burnt or lesser results.
Avoid the sun to make sure you maximize the results of your laser hair removal treatment. For safety, the laser always has a lower intensity when treating darker skin. This mean that you may need more sessions (and thus to spend more on your treatment). Staying clear from the sun will also avoid you getting sunburnt, which will delay your laser hair removal treatment as well.
Why you must avoid sunlight after laser hair removal
The laser hair removal treatment will leave your skin must more sensitive and vulnerable to UV rays. The light emitted by the laser caused that new sensitivity. Exposing the treated areas to the sun is risking skin damage. One obvious risk is bad sunburns. Another possibility is hyperpigmentation with people seeing the treated areas becoming much darker.
When the sun damages the skin, the latter needs to heal. However, exposure to UV rays can prevent the skin from healing which could worsen the damage to the skin. Damaged skin, and in some extreme cases skin cancer, cannot be reversed. As you have just spent time and money on a laser hair removal treatment, it is better to consider the long term, and stop exposing yourself to the sun for a little bit. Ou want to keep a healthy skin.
Even if you are not exposing yourself to the sun, it is still strongly advised that you use a strong SPF. It is precaution. Make sure it is water-resistant if you wish to swim and free of any chemicals that may be aggressive to your sensitive skin. Furthermore, chemical sunscreens absorb sunlight while physical sunscreens act as a shield. They usually contain titanium dioxide and zinc oxide.
So, when is the best time then?
If we can officially cross summer of our list, then we do not have that much choice left. Some advise winter as the best time to start laser hair removal. However, at Infinity Laser Spa, we advise you to start before winter. As a matter of fact, fall is the best time to start laser hair removal. If you have not exposed yourself too much to the sun in the summer, you can even start the treatment at the end of summer.
Starting during the fall will allow you to prepare for next year and have plenty of time to stagger all your sessions. Furthermore, as summer is over and fall starts, your holiday tan will naturally go away, and you will expose yourself to the sun much less. I got it, starting laser hair removal during the fall reduces the occurence of any side effects significantly.
If you are an avid skier and plan to go skiing in between sessions, we are aware that the sun is very strong up on the mountain, and that the reflection on the snow makes it even stronger. If you did laser hair removal on an area of your body that will be expose to the sun, you imperatively need to use the strongest SPF. 50 at least.